I'm currently building my new PC and the only thing left to decide is the graphics setup. Trying to figure out whether I'll be better off with one 285 or two 260s SLIed, price wise both options are about the same but how does the performance compare?
Primarily going to be used for games and video(watching not rendering)
Any input you guys can provide will be greatly appreciated. Also open to alternative suggestions in that price range, not opposed to ATI just always had Nvidia, seemed that when ever i needed/wanted a new video card Nvidia was in the lead at the time.
Regardless of brand and to some extent price, I always recommend single card solutions. Multi-gpu drivers have come a LONG way since inception but....... they use more power, do not play well with all games (some only use one card), create alot more heat (in most instances), etc.
As a sidenote, the gtx 200 series as a whole are difficult to get right now. I believe the 5850 is cheaper and performs better, but is equally hard to get.
The 5870 is the best single card available but, is super long and is perhaps the most difficult card to find right now. It is also a little more expensive than the 285. I really think the 5850 is the sweet spot (although I did read an article recently that says AMD/ATI were raising prices on it (that's what no competion will get ya')) The 5000 series has the fullest feature set with dx11, so it's probably best if you going to build right now.
I would go with gtx 260 sli if you want to go with nvidia and 5770 if cf if you want to go with ati. Both setup will cost you around the same. What another option would be go with a 5870 now and add another one when you need more fire power. Stick with ati as of now since there cards offer dx11 while nvidia doesnt at the moment but will soon change when the release of Fermi.
Definitely get the HD5850 1GB, and later get a second one in Crossfire if you need to.
HD5850 1GB notes:
1. DX11 (more interesting than DX10. especially Tesselation support)
2. DirectComputer/OpenCL for future non-gaming applications
3. average 84% of HD5870 but 70% the cost
4. shorter board than the HD5870
5. Idle power of 26W versus 90W for HD4890
I wouldn't dream of building a high-end system and NOT putting a DX11 card in it. NVidia looks to be a few months away and there's little info on their hardware. Sure they have PhysX but I doubt their Idle power will be as low as ATI/AMD's.
DX11 is a fascinating architecture. Windows 7 and DX11 will produce some incredible games. No game yet has been truly multi-threaded. This new architecture should help eliminate stuttering but Tesselation and some other features are really going to take PC games to the next level.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get DX11 support. Game companies have to write to the EXISTING hardware but we'll start to see an increase in DX10/11 features in games as time goes on. True DX11 will initially be done by Game companies who write major portions of the game for DX11 and separately for DX9 with some DX10 sprinklings in there if supported.
Keep the following in mind. The new DX11 cards can't show off their full value until DX11 software or games support it. Most PC games are based on DX9 still. Some existing games will likely be tweaked to add additional support just as it was with DX10. However, when DX11 support is implemented non-DX11 video cards simply won't look as good. We won't see any games that ONLY play on DX11 cards or higher for many years but what we will see is games that begin to offer DX11 features if the card supports it. It won't be a big deal for a year or more but I plan on getting an HD5850 and adding a second one if needed and keeping these video cards for four years. There's a SMALL premium with DX11 if only comparing raw frame rates in games but there are other features and future-proofing to consider. Heck, I'd pay a small premium just to have 26W instead of 90W idle power.